President Donald Trump's proposed budget won’t fund a barrier to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes despite recent remarks that he would protect the lakes from the invasive fish.
It does, however, include one win for the Great Lakes: another $123 million in 2021 to build a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie ($75 million was already appropriated to start construction on the lock in 2020).
Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended reconstruction of the Brandon Road lock and dam on the Des Plaines River in Illinois.
The $778 million project would let ship traffic pass between the Mississippi River watershed and the Great Lakes, but it would prevent Asian carp from doing the same.
Scientists say the introduced fish could devastate native species by competing with them for food and habitat.
Trump brought up Asian carp while speaking in Warren, Michigan on Jan. 30.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already has a plan, and we are going to get this done and ready to go," he said. "It's going to be very quick. We're going to do it very quick. It's not easy. But we have all of the top technology, and we're gonna take care of it."
Molly Flanagan with the Alliance for the Great Lakes says her organization is shocked.
"It defies logic that President Trump was actually in Michigan two weeks ago vowing to stop Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes, but now there's no funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to actually do this work this year," says Flanagan.